Saturday, June 07, 2008

Reliably Stale!

One of Indias most touted people company, Reliance, has made several inroads into the retail and consumer business. One of these forays is into daily commodities, FMCG, fruits, vegetables etc. via Reliance Fresh.

Like anything that Reliance does, they started their Reliance Fresh wing also in a very big way. They have many outlets in Bangalore and are growing. They have one conveniently close to my place and we decided to give it a try. Since it was their first couple of weeks of operation, I didn't expect things to be smooth and they sure were not. They were so far from not smooth, they were abysmal in service. We decided to never use Reliance Fresh again.

Many months have since gone by and Mango season has come around. I happened to go to Reliance Fresh with a cousin of mine to help with his shopping and I saw that they had a Mango mela on, and had the famous Alphonso Mangoes for Rs.75 for half a dozen which comes to approx 1.5kg. Seemed like a good deal, bought it, and surprisingly the mangoes were damn good! Since then, I have frequented Reliance Fresh to get these mangoes and have continued to have bad experiences with their service every time! Todays experience:
1. I got there at 7:30AM, the time the person in charge of Mango sales told me to get there to get fresh mangoes.
2. They officially open only at 8:00AM and I am told to wait.
3. It ended up opening at 8:15AM and I found only one stale box of Alphonso Mangoes. I asked the person in charge of the Mango sales and he said "I have 4 crates of fresh alphonso mangoes being unloaded", and suggested me to wait. I had anyway lost my sleep, so, there was nothing more to lose, hence waited longer.
4. I waited till 9:00AM, inquiring every 10 minutes on the status of mangoes and all I get is "They are being unloaded".
5. Finally the sales person tells me, "Sorry Sir, no alphonso mangoes today!". I asked him, "Didn't you tell me you had 4 crates of it!" He just gives me a blank face in reply. I am pissed, but what could I possibly say or do! I decided to buy some other variety of mangoes and headed towards the billing area.
6. I was among the first few who got into the store, but with all the waiting, there were hoards of people already near the billing area.
7. To my surprise, they opened only one billing counter!
8. To save some pennies, they have decided to have the person doing the billing to be the same person who does the packing! Double the work, less efficient, more than double the time!!
9. I went and complained and had another counter opened. But not to my surprise, the bar code scanner was not functioning properly and the lady at the counter had to hand edit all the items. And this of course, gets very messy for someone who doesn't know English well, but is supposed to bill Spinach and button onions and what not, while all she knows are the Kannada names for the same!! She is running all over the place to get them translated.
10. I got out of the outlet at 9:30AM, 2 hours since I started the saga of trying to buy 2 kgs of Mangoes!

Reliance is probably very good with their energy and petroleum and chemical factories and refineries. But when it comes to direct consumer service, its pathetic and penny wise pound foolish! They can learn more than a thing or two from a much smaller competitor, at least in number of outlets, M K Retail !!

Now on, never going to Reliance Fresh, even for Mangoes!!


anila said...

Wanted to ask you what happened after that.. But now, I've got the whole story! :D

Manju Venugopal said...

I had once visited a Reliance fresh shop seeing the 'Mango Mela' ad. The place was a total untidy mess and the mangoes were no where near fresh.

Ajay said...

Manju: I was told that it maybe to do with the Reliance Fresh near my place. But after your comment, I stick by my assessment.